Friday, March 07, 2014

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1) by Ransom Riggs | Book Review



Plot in a Nutshell:
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.
-Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Thoughts in General:
Plunging into this book by the impression I got from the cover, I really did expect it to be creepy and scary and oddly enough it wasn’t at all. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs felt more of a children’s fairy tale rather than the horror novel it was marketed to be (though there were scenes in this book that were creepy and weren’t suitable for children) which didn’t bother me. I liked how the story unfolded and the whole world-building was really fascinating. The characters were interesting and charming enough for me to like, although I had some minor issues with the protagonist. The photographs (which made this book unique) are something of a novelty for me as a reader. It felt interactive in a way however it wasn’t a huge part of the story line as I expected it to be. A lot of things were still left unanswered as the book ended and I am really thankful that there’s still a sequel to fill in the blanks that has been on my mind.    

Thoughts in Details (May Contain Spoilers):
Character/s
The book was told from the First-Person POV of our protagonist Jacob Portman. I wasn’t a huge fan of Jacob because I found him quite rude and unenthusiastic especially during the first few chapters of the story. There were moments that he was just a loose cannon and would spark arguments with everyone in his family. However when he and his dad embarked on that trip to Cairnholm and he finds out the truth in his grandfather’s stories, I eventually began to like him and I started to see the growth in his character (although there were still moments in the book that he sounded like a total douche). 

Miss Alma LeFay Peregrine is the headmistress of the little home for peculiar children. She is an ymbryne (which is sort of like a bird morphing, time loop keeping protector of peculiars) and She is strict, proper and at times humorous.  Her character reminds me of Mary Poppins and Nanny McPhee (I am basing this on the movies because I haven’t read the books). I am fascinated with her character and her peculiarity because she felt so mysterious to me that even after finishing the book their was this shroud of enigma around her. I do hope there would be some more back story for her character. 

Then there were the peculiar children who were really fun to know. First there’s the feisty and fiery Emma Bloom who is so adventurous and kick-ass. She’s confident and I like how she’s so driven and so different from Jacob’s personality. Her tough exterior is balanced out by her emotional interior which makes her a believable and likeable character.

Millard Nullings is the resident geek in their little clique. If the fact that he recorded every single thing that happens in their lives for 27 years doesn’t make him geeky I don’t know what will. He is also very funny and I think he is the comic relief in this book.   

Bronwyn Bruntley, to me, feels like the big sister among all the children. Although she appears brusque and tough, I got the feeling that she is loving, caring and protective of the children which is such a great contrast.

The other children in this book didn’t shine as much as these three but they all had complex personalities that made them interesting. Enoch O’Connor is the sarcastic pessimist of the bunch, given what his peculiar ability is I think it highly suits his dark sensibility but I am annoyed at him most of the time (he kind of reminds me of Octavian in the Heroes of Olympus series). Horace Somnusson is one of the most fashion conscious male characters I have read about. He is so interested in what he wears and doesn’t care what the other children thought. Olive Elephanta is so quirky and cute (her vibe reminds me so much of Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter series), even though she didn't get that much on page action she is one of my favorite peculiar. Fiona Frauenfeld is, quite frankly really weird and she didn’t spoke that much in the book but her ability intrigued me enough to keep me interested in her. Hugh Apiston and Claire Densmore didn’t leave any emotional impressions on me but their peculiar abilities I can’t seem to forget.

Setting
Ransom Riggs imaginative world was filled with whimsy and quirk that it made me love the book a lot more. He really did a good job in interpreting and incorporating the vintage photographs into the story which added a feel of authenticity to it. Another thing, the characteristics of this world I would compare to a fairy tale because of its charm. The concept of time-loops, people with strange abilities and ymbrynes are unique to my eyes and are executed in a way that didn’t feel like the author was information dumping. It felt natural and consistent.

Story
Jacob has grown up listening to his grandfather's, Abraham Portman, tales about an island wherein a group of children with peculiar abilities lived with a wise woman named Miss Peregrine. He then realizes and discerns the tales of his grandfather as far-fetched fairy tales and he grew out of those stories like most children when they reach a certain age. However as the story progresses, everything his grandfather told him end up being the truth and he has to find out more about these children and their caretaker. 

The theme of the book, in my opinion, is really about Jacob’s discovery of himself and his true heritage underneath the fantasy elements of the book. I quite enjoyed how Jacob grows as a character and how he slowly accepts that he isn’t ordinary. There were bits of action, thrill, romance and spine-tingling creep factor in this book and it was done in such a candid way that made the book special. Yes there were plot holes and some questions were still left unanswered but it was still loads of fun to read. I can definitely see what the hype is all about.

Rating
The wonderful home of Miss P deserves a...
Thumbs Up! 
Peculiar, odd and thoroughly enjoyable, you should definitely try to read it!

What about you guys? What are your thoughts regarding this book? How did it make you feel? Please share your opinions by commenting down below.

Happy Reading,

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